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St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital

St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group is the only charitable provider of expert eye care in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, treating patients regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay. The Hospital has been operating for 137 years.


The exact date when the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem first came into being is unknown. However, it was around 1070 when a hospice – a place of care – was established in Jerusalem by monks from a neighbouring Benedictine abbey to care for the growing number of Christians making the long and dangerous pilgrimage to the holy city.

The hospice soon developed into a hospital and in 1113 the Pope confirmed its independence. Over the next forty years it developed into a religious and military order, with its brothers and sisters (commonly known as Hospitallers of St John or Knights Hospitallers) providing care to the poor and sick of any faith. They also took on the additional role of defending all Christians and others within their care when they were threatened.


The Order was driven from Jerusalem in 1187 and established its headquarters on the coast of Palestine, before moving to Cyprus and then on to Rhodes. In 1530 it moved to Malta, where it governed until it was expelled by Napoleon in 1798.

Throughout their sovereign years on Rhodes and Malta the Knights’ medical work continued. In Rhodes the hospital had separate wards for infectious disease and maternity care. In Malta the Order ran a health service for the Maltese people and set up a famous school of anatomy and surgery. The great ward in Malta’s hospital was the longest room in 18th century Europe.


There were originally three charitable Foundations of the modern Order. One, which became The St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Foundation, was established in 1882. The St John Ambulance Association, which was concerned with training the public in first aid, was established in 1877. And, the third was The St John Ambulance Brigade, which provided first aid care to the public. It had its origins in 1873, and became a Foundation in 1887. The St John Ambulance Association and The St John Ambulance Brigade were amalgamated in 1974 to form the present St John Ambulance Foundation.

There was a major re-structuring of the Order’s constitution in 1999. This introduced a new governing body called the Grand Council. The Order today consists of 8 St John national organisations known as Priories, 33 St John national organisations known as Associations and the St John Eye Hospital Group which has its main hospital in Jerusalem.

In 2019 we reached almost 136,658 patients and performed over 5734 major surgeries.

80% of blindness in this region is curable but most will not have access to our care without your help.

Their latest newsletter can be found here; http://download.mmh.org.uk/SJEHG-KT_Newsletter-June_2023.pdf

Please visit their website for further information. Homepage – St John Eye Hospital